- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for “Avengers: Endgame.”
- “Endgame” is an emotional experience the first time you see it. If you’ve been watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the past decade, you were probably left with puffy red eyes by the film’s end.
- INSIDER ranked the most emotional moments in the movie starting with the ones that made you tear up to the ones that had you ugly crying. Not all of them are necessarily sad. Some of them brought us tears of joy, including one unexpected roundup during the film’s final hour.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
If you’ve seen “Avengers: Endgame” then you probably cried and teared up several times during the three-hour extravaganza. Maybe you brought a box of tissues and cried the entire film.
We get it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 22nd outing is a giant look back at the movies before it. It’s an emotional, nostalgic roller coaster for fans. During each screening INSIDER attended, sniffles filled the room after one major scene near the film’s end.
Now that the film has been out for a little bit and has made over $US1 billion worldwide opening weekend, let’s talk through those big moments. INSIDER breaks down the scenes that hit us hard from a few tears to full-on ugly crying. A lot of these moments have more emotional weight to them if you preceded your “Endgame” watch with some – or all – of the 21 films that came before it.
If you haven’t seen the movie, we suggest you don’t read this until you get around to seeing it in theatres. If you have, grab a tissue and let’s discuss.
23. Nebula having fun for one of the first times in her life (maybe ever) with Tony Stark.
“Avengers: Endgame” may have had you in tears from its few first minutes. After Clint’s family disappeared before his very eyes, we open up on Tony and Nebula playing a game of paper football. The moment is supposed to be a light-hearted palette cleanser, but, if you’re familiar with Nebula’s story line from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, it may have had you tearing up.
After Nebula wins, Tony asks her if she had fun. The question takes her by surprise and Nebula slowly considers the question before answering.
Nebula spent so much of her life training to be the perfect warrior for her father, Thanos, that fun was never really on the agenda. Instead, “fun” consisted of Nebula and Gamora battling each other over and over again. Each time Nebula lost to her sister (and that was every time), Thanos replaced a part of her with machinery.
Tony Stark probably didn’t realise how much that small moment really meant to Nebula.
22. Seeing Pepper Potts in the Rescue suit on screen for the first time.
For years, Pepper has asked Tony retire from the superhero game. She even left him at one point before the events of “Captain America: Civil War” because he couldn’t give up the Iron Man mantle. Instead, he created Ultron and put the world in danger.
So to see Pepper fully embrace not only that Tony is inevitably tied to Iron Man, but also don her own suit made by her husband to use in battle made us tear up. Don’t expect to see her suit up again, though. Paltrow has said she’s retiring the character, unless Marvel really needs her.
21. Seeing Captain America pass on the shield to Falcon.
It was a monumental moment to see Sam Wilson get the shield from Steve Rogers at the film’s end and made us misty-eyed. But it wasn’t a huge surprise. In the comics, Falcon took over the Captain America mantle in 2014.
Since Chris Evans said “Avengers: Endgame” would complete Cap’s story arc, we expected to see him pass on the shield to Bucky Barnes or Falcon. In early April, Disney announced Steve Rogers’ two best buds would be getting their own show on the company’s upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus.
20. When Black Widow tells the rest of the Avengers she’ll see everyone in a minute.
This probably won’t hit you until the second time you see the movie. (You’ve seen “Endgame” more than once, right?) As Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Steve Rogers, and the rest of the Avengers get ready to go back in time, Natasha says “see ya in a minute.”
It’s a moment you may not have thought about a lot during a first watch of “Endgame.” It has a whole new meaning once you know all of the Avengers will never be in a room together again with Black Widow. It’s the last thing she ever says to her friends, the people she considered family.
19. Tony finally getting to say goodbye to his dad.
Tony’s trip back in time to 1970 gave him an unexpected moment to have another heart-to-heart with his father before his death in 1991.
The moment had an extra amount of weight to it if you just watched 2008’s “Iron Man.” When he returned from Afghanistan, Tony Stark told the press he was never able to say goodbye to his dad. In “Endgame,” he finally did.
18. Watching Hawkeye’s entire family disappear right before his eyes.
If you’ve been watching all of the trailers and teasers for “Endgame,” this one probably didn’t come as a complete shock to you. We haven’t seen Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) since “Captain America: Civil War.” In “Infinity War,” Black Widow said Barton accepted a plea deal for helping Captain America with then-fugitive Bucky Barnes. Barton was focusing on his family instead.
When trailers showed him in the darker Ronin getup, it led us to believe Barton may have been affected by the “Infinity War” snap. However, none of that prepped us for the emotional distress in Barton’s eyes and voice as he called out and ran around his farm searching desperately for his family. Poor Hawkeye.
17. The return of the Guardians of the Galaxy with Doctor Strange.
Not all of our tears were sad ones. After seeing all of the sling ring circles pop up around Captain America, Tony, and Thor, you’re eagerly left wondering which one Strange will appear through. It’s not until we see the “wizard of Bleecker Street,” as Tony refers to him, on screen that we’re assured this must be the one successful timeline he envisioned in “Infinity War.”
And when he arrives to the party, it’s with the Guardians. We’re not only thrilled to see Groot again, but it’s incredibly satisfying to see that Rocket and Nebula have their family back.
This ranks a little lower because we weren’t too surprised they all returned. We know director James Gunn is returning for the third film in the “Guardians” franchise and we feel pretty confident about a “Doctor Strange 2” as well.
16. You were probably holding back tears when a phone rang and you realised it was probably Clint Barton’s wife before we even saw her image on the display.
“Endgame” made you rally behind Hawkeye in a way you maybe never rooted for the character before. So much of this movie is centered around Hawkeye’s loss, ensuing grief, and his journey to regain his family.
After merely hearing his daughter during a test-run to the past, it’s all the more satisfying that Clint is the first person to hear from a loved one he thought he’d never see again. Clint was all choked up and could barely speak when he heard his wife’s voice for the first time in five years. We’d react similarly if we just learned someone we thought we lost was among the living.
15. The moment you hear Sam Wilson’s voice in Cap’s ear is the start of many tearful scenes for the rest of the film.
Captain America’s shield is broken and in disrepair. Thor, Tony Stark, and Cap are outmatched by 2014 Thanos. The moment things are looking dire for Cap, he hears Sam’s voice in his ear, one he never thought he’d hear again. At first, he’s a bit stunned, as if he’s hearing things.
When Sam finally reappears, he says, “On your left.” The line is something Cap repeatedly said to Sam Wilson as he ran circles around him when they first met in “The Winter Soldier.” This time it was Captain America who didn’t see Sam coming.
14. When the first sling ring appears and Black Panther returns for the fight, the emotional dial cranks way up.
As soon as Falcon entered the picture, we knew Black Panther was coming. They were both last seen together on the battlefield in Wakanda. But there was something extra special about seeing Okoye reunited with T’Challa and Shuri, first as silhouettes and then coming into focus before the Wakandan king shouted out his catchphrase, “Wakanda Forever.”
Not only did you realise that was about to be the first of many heroes to enter the battle, but you also knew the entire Wakandan army was about to join the fight. And that was after they just fought an entire battle on their own home turf versus many of these same alien creatures they had just killed. Pass a tissue please.
13. Spider-Man’s return on screen had a lot of people emotional.
We could have lumped this into the slide with the Guardians, but we were definitely holding back some nerd tears when the camera shifted its focus to Peter Parker’s big return to the MCU.
It seems a bit absurd to say we were floored he was back since we know he’ll be in July’s “Spider-Man” sequel, but Spidey’s return received one of the largest rounds of applause anytime we saw the movie. A lot of that is probably because we knew how heavily his loss weighed on his mentor, Tony Stark. Peter’s disappearance seemed to be a big reason Tony even bothered to try and figure out time travel.
12. Tony’s final moments with Pepper were sweet, calming, and had a double meaning that hit us right in the feels.
After watching Peter say goodbye to his mentor, we see Pepper let Tony go. She has accepted this is his fate and tells him calmly that it’s OK for him to go.
“We’re gonna be OK. You can rest now,” says Pepper. Not only is she speaking about herself and their daughter Morgan, but also everyone else.
Thank goodness Potts is holding herself together because at this point, you were probably crying so many tears that you just let them stream down your face.
11. Peter Parker reuniting with Mr. Stark on the battlefield and getting, unexpectedly, embraced by Tony.
One of the film’s sweetest moments was when Tony cut the always-rambling Peter Parker off to bring him into a huge embrace. This is a man who, despite clearly seeing a huge potential in Peter, wasn’t into giving the kid a hug at the start of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” He said they weren’t there yet.
When Tony first returned to Earth, the first words he said to Cap were that he lost the kid, referring to Peter. That was before he even asked about Pepper Potts. He even kept a photo of Peter right next to his father, Howard, in his home five years later.
Upon a second viewing, this scene is more emotional because you know it’s the first and last real moment between Tony and Peter in five years before Stark’s death.
10. It was absolutely heartbreaking when Gamora didn’t recognise Star-Lord on the battlefield.
Star-Lord thought he was never going to see his girlfriend again after Thanos killed her in “Infinity War.” Since he was only missing for, what felt like, a few moments after Thanos’ snap, he hasn’t had time yet to fully process and grieve her death.
When he saw 2014 Gamora on the battlefield it was an incredibly bittersweet moment. He may have thought there was some mistake and that his Gamora was really still alive. However, when he learned the Gamora he saw had no recollection of him, it was a one-two punch. While it was great to have Gamora back, it was devastating to realise she knew nothing of her Guardians family.
Later, it was sadder to see that Quill was searching for the 2014 version of Gamora that’s somewhere in the galaxy.
9. The group shot of the women of Marvel brought tears of joy to our face.
One of the most unexpected moments of “Endgame” came during its final battle when Marvel Studios put the majority of its female heroes together in one giant Avengers shot. Okoye, Wasp, Valkyrie, Gamora, Mantis, Pepper Potts, Scarlet Witch, and more assembled together to help Captain Marvel get the Iron Gauntlet away from Thanos.
For women who grew up with superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man dominating media, it was a grand moment to see more than a handful of women together on screen for the first time in one shot. For little girls growing up in an age where female superheroes are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, it was an uplifting moment of validation to see more than one version of a female hero represented on screen.
The moment was more emotional when you knew it had a direct callback to an “Infinity War” scene with the now deceased Black Widow.
When Thanos’ henchwoman Promixa Midnight (Carrie Coon) told Scarlet Witch she’d die alone during the Battle of Wakanda, Black Widow came from behind to say her friend wasn’t alone. She had Natasha and Okoye to back her up. In “Endgame,” when Peter Parker asked Captain Marvel how she was possibly going to make it across the battlefield alone, Okoye was the one to say that Carol Danvers doesn’t have to do it alone.
8. Black Widow’s death caught us off guard completely.
Black Widow’s death was one of the biggest surprises of “Endgame.” Since she has a standalone movie in the works, many assumed she would be safe.
When INSIDER polled 760 Marvel fans before the movie’s theatrical release, Black Widow was not among the characters fans said they believed was most likely to die. About 24% of respondents did say they would be upset to see the character go.
Aside from the shock of Widow’s death, this scene was carried by the emotion seen in Jeremy Renner’s face. We had just watched Hawkeye lose his entire family. Now, we were forced to see him watch his best friend die and the looks of pain on his face were enough to do us in.
We didn’t put this one up higher for one main reason. From the moment we learned Clint and Natasha drew the short straws to go to Vormir to acquire the Soul Stone, we knew one of them most likely wasn’t going to make it back. In order to acquire the orange Infinity Stone, you need to sacrifice something you love.
7. The moment you realise Cap’s going back in time and leaving Bucky and Sam behind.
All it took was Captain America dropping one little line to Bucky Barnes – “Don’t do anything stupid until I get back” – to know that Cap wasn’t going to be back for a long time and the tears probably started flowing again.
When Barnes responded with a callback to the first Captain America movie, it appeared Bucky knew exactly what was about to happen as well. That was all but confirmed when Bucky didn’t seem stunned when Cap didn’t return right away to the present when the Hulk tried bringing him back.
As Sam and Bruce Banner look around in confusion, the audience is given a moment to realise why Cap isn’t appearing back in the present. As you slowly realise Cap stayed back in the past, it’s tough to not get emotional. You’re sad to learn we’re losing another one of our main Avengers, but joyful Cap is finally getting his happy ending.
6. The moment you realise Steve Rogers is an old man.
While you may have anticipated Steve Rogers going back in time to live out his days with Peggy Carter, you may have been shocked to see Rogers return to Bucky and Sam aged.
Again, this was another bittersweet moment, because we knew Steve Rogers received the happy ending he deserved, but it’s at the expense of giving up the mantle of Captain America. This isn’t ranked higher because we expected a conclusion to Cap’s story. Chris Evans teased “Avengers: Endgame” would complete Captain America’s story arc. It certainly appears that way.
5. Parker’s final moments with Tony Stark had us in knots as it called back to one of the most emotional scenes in “Infinity War.”
Peter had no idea he played a big role in why Tony decided to go back in time and save the world.
Were we crying harder because we knew this was Peter’s final time with Mr. Stark or because this moment flips one of the most emotional moments from the end of “Infinity War” on its head with Tony and Peter’s roles reversed? Both? Probably both.
4. We thought we were done crying and then Happy Hogan started reminiscing about Tony and cheeseburgers.
If you weren’t already sobbing, Happy Hogan probably got you all choked up again when he asked Tony’s little girl if she wanted something to eat. Morgan had a simple answer – a cheeseburger, please.
If that didn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re going to want to take another watch of “Iron Man.” When Tony first returns home after being held prisoner by a terrorist organisation, the billionaire tells his driver, Happy, he wants a fast-food cheeseburger.
Like father, like daughter.
If you did remember the scene, you were probably having trouble seeing through the tears you were trying to conceal as Happy told Morgan his father also liked cheeseburgers. Morgan, naturally, was unfazed. But not us.
3. The sight of Tony’s arc reactor with Pepper felt like a punch to the gut.
When the funeral scene started, audible sniffles could be heard throughout the theatre each time we saw the movie opening week.
If you thought the crying was over, you were sorely mistaken. There was no body at the funeral, but when Pepper Potts walked down her cabin steps holding Tony’s first arc reactor on a bed of flowers, the waterworks probably started all over again.
Pepper gifted that to Tony for his birthday in “Iron Man,” engraved with the words, “Proof Tony Stark Has A Heart.”
You may get more emotional when you realise the notches in Tony’s first arc were mirrored by the Avengers in a shot right before they went back in time.
2. The moment you realise Tony isn’t going to make it out of the movie alive.
From the moment Doctor Strange slowly stuck up one finger and looked ominously at Tony, the tears started building up. Strange said there was one way to bring everyone back and Tony understood it was going to take the ultimate sacrifice.
You may not have gotten emotional, though, until Tony showed he was able to gain possession of the Infinity Stones and wield the Iron Gauntlet. When Tony said, “I am Iron Man” and took on the full power of the stones, it was both exhilarating and equally upsetting. Yes, it was a callback to Tony revealing his superhero identity to the world in 2008, but it was also a hint at the devastating moment to come. If Thanos and Hulk could survive the force of the Infinity and Iron Gauntlets only with severe damage, there was no way Tony could take it on.
If you connected those dots from the moment Tony swiped the stones from Thanos, you were probably already bawling.
1. Tony looking at his daughter and Pepper, and ultimately the audience, to say, “I love you, 3000.”
Just when you thought you were all done crying, Tony Stark reels you back in with one final speech he left behind for his family and loved ones courtesy of his Iron Man helmet.
At the very end, he looks out at his daughter, and, in turn, the audience, and says, “I Love You, 3,000,” which may have sent you into a full-on ugly cry. Morgan says the line earlier in film to her dad when she’s going to bed.
The line struck such a cord, it inspired fans to tweet their love and thank Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel for over a decade of movies.
You probably cried harder if you picked up on the fact that Tony left behind a film clip of himself for his little girl the same way his father did years before for him.
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